Tag Archive for small-scale farmers

How a History of Exploitation has turned into a Sustainable Industry

yeba-mate-plantYerba mate has been a part of South American culture for many centuries. It is a communal ‘Drink of the Gods’ that is deeply rooted in the tradition of many people groups. The Misiones region in Argentina is one of the largest producers of yerba mate, which comes from the leaves of this medium sized tree. It was native to this area and grown small scale for consumption by the local people. However, when Europeans arrived in the Americas in the 15th century, they brought with them some drastic changes. Jesuit priests who established religions missions in the area observed the local Guarani people consuming this beverage. They learned about its nutritious and energizing properties and quickly adopted its use.

Sustainable Agriculture

P2050931-640x218Most farmers in the world own less than five hectares of land. Known as small-scale farmers, they feed one third of the global population, providing up to 80% of food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Yet small-scale farmers, many of who are women, face heavy challenges to survive from day to day, among them land tenure problems, rising food prices, export-led agriculture, and the use of land to grow internationally desired commodities rather than food.